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Ha'penny (Small Change #2)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,058 ratings  ·  182 reviews
Before Jo Walton won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for her stunning Among Others, she published a trilogy set in a dark alternate postwar England that had negotiated “Peace with Honor” with Nazi Germany in 1941. These novels—Farthing, Ha’penny, and Half a Crown—are connected by common threads, but can be read in any order.

In Ha’penny, England has completed its slide into fasc
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Tor Books (first published October 2nd 2007)
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Oct 05, 2011 Barbara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: Susan Drees
After reading Jo Walton's Farthing (Small Change, #1) by Jo Walton, I was pleased to discover that it was #1 of a trilogy. This sequel is no less disturbing. It is set in a world that might have been , a society which has tried to trade freedom for security, but fails at both. One reviewer described this set as parahistorical , but while it can be viewed as an historical fantasy, aside from the alternate history and world, it is chilling and unfortunately very real.

I will not dwell on the plot, nor the mystery associated with it,
I found this second book in Jo Walton's "Small Change" trilogy increasingly difficult to put down. From something which I expected would take me a few days to read, it became a book which I devoured in three sittings - the last half of it in a single sitting.

The first book in the trilogy, Farthing, created the world of the novel: a world in which England made peace with Nazi Germany in 1941 and is sliding towards becoming a fascist state in 1949. Farthing was written in the style of a Golden Ag
I didn't like Ha'penny as much as Farthing -- I didn't devour it in the same way: it wasn't as compulsive a read, and besides, everyone's politics are getting a little bit murky. Viola, the first person POV character, isn't as likeable as Lucy -- she's not as amusing to read about, and her convictions are murky, and she gives in all too easily. It's understandable. Probably most people who read this and criticise her for giving in would give in themselves, hoping to earn a few more weeks of life ...more
I read Farthing when it came out and thought it was brilliant. On rereading it, I still think so, and Ha'penny is just as good. Farthing's plot was a country-house mystery; I would call Ha'penny more of a suspense thriller, and full of suspense it is, right up to the explosive ending.

It follows on quite shortly after Farthing: Inspector Carmichael has just come off the Farthing case and has been assigned to a bombing which killed leading actress Lauria Gilmore. Viola Lark has been chosen to act
Beth Cato
These books blow my mind. I read FARTHING recently and immediately ordered the next two in the trilogy. Each book can stand alone but is interconnected. While HA'PENNY wasn't as good as its predecessor--the first person perspective just isn't quite as gripping and sympathetic--it's still a darn good book. I read it over a day and a half, and found many excuses to pause for a while and read more. Walton has created a world that's terrifying because it's so convincing: Britain and Germany, stoppin ...more
Ampersand Canada's Book & Gift Agency Inc
From Ali:
All I can say is that I’m enraged that Tor won’t be putting out the third and final book until September. I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL SEPTEMBER, YOU GUYS!
From Dot:
Both Farthing and Ha’penny were gripping reads and I polished them off in short order. The books look at a what –if scenario – England has signed a separate peace agreement with Hitler and is heading into fascism. Farthing is a murder mystery with this as the backdrop and the main character and her husband (a Jew) are set up to ta
I loved Farthing, the first book in this series, despite avoiding alternate history and especially anything involving Nazis and WWII like the plague. In Farthing, Jo Walton took a classic British country house mystery and used it to divert the reader from all the subtly horrifying alternate history world-building going on at the edges, then brought all the alternate history aspects to the fore in the final third like a punch to the gut. It was one of the best books I've read all year.

In this seq
I tore through this one, and I'm tempted to go straight to the library for the third. This book suffers only a little bit from middleoftrilogyitis, mostly manifest in my desire to find out what happens in the final volume.

The trilogy's apparent structure is clever. This book, like the first one, has a split narrative; also like the first it alternates between a first person protagonist and a third person protagonist. The third person narrator, a Scotland Yard detective named Carmichael, is the
Set in the universe in which Britain made peace with Hitler rather than continuing to fight, and in 1949 most of Europe is under the Reich. The one where noblewoman-turned-actress Viola Lark is getting ready to play a female Hamlet when the actress scheduled for Gertrude is killed in an explosion, and poor closeted Inspector Carmichael is put on the case to make sure it wasn't "Jews or anarchists."

I felt like Carmichael was a little warmer in this book than in Farthing; he's still rather at a di
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
The standout book of this series. This book was brilliant in a way that the first (Farthing) and third (Half a Crown) were not. Also, if you don't love the awesomeness of the cover — a vintage photo of an advertising-crowded street which includes an ad proclaiming that Guinness is good for you — then I don't mean to judge, but really, you should probably have that checked out. And when I say "that" I mean "your improperly functioning sense of what is funny and/or awesome."

One of the viewpoint ch
This is the second book of this trilogy set in an alternate timeline where Britain has made peace with Hitler. This is readable enough, but it’s depressing as hell, and has a protagonist I didn’t believe in.

This book takes place a couple of weeks after the events in Farthing. We’re introduced to another young aristocratic woman who has defied her family - this one has become a theater actress and changed her name. She’s plausibly uninterested in politics and more concerned with her upcoming play
I've been working on this in between all the YA books I've been reading and even though I've been reading it for weeks, the minute I opened it again I was immediately immersed in Walton's alternate world. In Farthing, the first book, Walton set out a world in which the Farthing Peace treaty is reached in WWII and Britain is now ruled by a dictatorship lead by Normanby, an ally of Hitler. There is increasing suppression of Jews, homosexuals, and anyone born outside England. Ha'penny follows the f ...more
A solid but unremarkable sequel to Farthing, Ha'penny suffers somewhat from middle-book-in-a-trilogy syndrome. Between that, the constraints of the historical background Walton has established, and a loss of subtlety in the political elements, I found the plot rather predictable and that robbed the ending somewhat of its tension. I also wish that Walton would get someone Irish to check over her work, because there are subtle things she gets wrong about her Irish characters which were jarring for ...more
Liz De Coster
Darker, even, than the first book in the series, but I found it just as gripping. I think getting a fuller sense of Carmichael's personal life made him more interesting and sympathetic as a character, but I found the Viola character a bit flat. Parts of her seemed cloned from the narrator of Farthing, and other parts of her seemed forced - like her romantic attraction to Devlin, which was described in detail but never seemed realistic.
Adam Wiggins
I was completely charmed by Farthing, the first book in this series which featured a quaint, alternative-history murder mystery. This sequel continues to follow detective Carmichael, interleaved with the perspective of a woman connected to the investigation.

I was distinctly less charmed by the continuation of this same formula. However, about halfway through the story evolved into something more weighty. By the end, it had built to a progression that has me eager to read the next book in the ser
Rowena Hoseason
The Small Change series is definitely my discovery of the year. Ha’penny, the second in the trilogy, offers us the ultimate moral dilemma: if you had the opportunity to kill Hitler then would you do it? At great personal cost? And would it make any difference?

Author Jo Walton then wraps that concept in the ultra-clever conceit of an alternative history where Nazi Germany and Britain made peace in 1941 and the UK’s government has degenerated into early stage totalitarianism. Then this ‘what if?’
It's just like me to stumble on trilogies and read them in the wrong order. This starts off as a rather dry police procedural with the bonus for me of being set in the theater but also with the baggage of trying to remember what I could of WWII history and how the premise of this novel provided an alternate history where Hitler didn't lose but only came to terms with Great Britain while taking over "The Continent"

But it's a sneaky read in that the police inspector Carmichael turns out to be quit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
oh what can I say?
Love love love Jo Walton. This girl can do no wrong. Ha'Penny is brilliant, and oh my gosh, I loved Viola and her detective Carmichael, the poor dear.

I am jumping all over the next book in this series. Farthing was great but this was, I daresay, even better.

This is not science fiction, really, except that it is an alternate history. The Germans have brokered a peace with the English that has stopped the Blitz, but left the Germans in charge of the continent. The camps, persecut
Quite a wonderful aternate history of England using the device of England striking a deal with Germany and then moving into a facist state of its own. That's what I said about the first volume. The second is as good with a twist on the "would you have killed Hitler if you had the chance" and how important timing of everything is. Also a very nice use of Theatre and Hamlet in the structure of the novel and the development of plot and character.
Fantasy Literature
(May contain spoilers for the previous book, Farthing.)

Ha’Penny is the second book in Jo Walton’s dark alternate history series SMALL CHANGE. The “small change” that created this world is the refusal of America to get involved in the war in Europe, in 1941. From that small “counterfactual” sprang a world where, by 1949, Europe is largely under the control of Hitler, who is at war with Stalin for the rest. Britain negotiated a “peace with honor” with Germany and has now fully embraced fascism. Ma
A morally ambiguous actress is roped into a plot to BLOW UP HITLER and the fictional British fascist dictator. Standing in her way is the good cop from the previous novel, Inspector Carmichael. However, he has greater reason than she to want these leaders gone, as he is a closeted homosexual. He knows the Nazi regime considers homosexuals to be deviants and he is also being blackmailed by his own government to keep this secret.
Here is the conflict: will the bombing plot succeed? Will Inspector
Another great read by Jo Walton. The second in a trilogy set in an alternate post WWII fascist England. This one follows the same Scotland Yard police inspector as he races to outwit a bombing threat against the Prime Minister and Hitler. Again we're treated to rich details and characters. The other lead character is a West End actress about to star as Hamlet in a cross-cast production. She is one of six Mitford-esque sisters. And like the Mitfords, one is a Fascist and another is a Communist. O ...more
Pedro Fragoso
Complex, intelligent, subtle.

Carmichael is a man with a conscience is an extremely bad place, trying to navigate impossible waters and paying a heavy price just for being there. Brilliant characters, especially Viola Lark, which must have been very hard to do and felt absolutely right and rich.

I read an unbelievable imbecile review (by Colin Steele in The Sidney Morning Herald) of this trilogy, stating that "a major problem with Walton’s female main characters is their lack of depth" and mention
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Having enjoyed "Farthing", I immediately started reading "Ha'penny" and found that the 2nd book picked up almost right after the first. The compromised Inspector Carmichael and Sergeant Royston are tapped to investigate a mysterious bomb explosion in a posh London neighborhood that has taken the life of a prominent British actress. Like the Farthing case, nothing is as it initially seems - the bomb was not planted but apparently went off while being made. There are ties to two British naval offi ...more
Patricia Burroughs
I am, in general, turned off by books that use first-person pov in one chapter and third-person pov in another. It feels like a cheat to me. Either you have the kind of story (or the skill) that can be told by a single pov or you don't, and if you don't, you use third person.

There are exceptions to every rule, and in this series, Jo Walton has convinced me that she is writing such exceptions. It also seems clear why this gimmick is being used, and all in all, I am not complaining. Once I adjuste
“They don’t hang people like me. They don’t want the embarrassment of a trial, and besides, Pappa is who he is. Like it or not, I’m a Larkin. They don’t want the headline, “Peer’s Daughter Hanged.” So much easier to shut me away and promise that if I keep very quiet they’ll release me as cured into my family’s custody in a year or two. Well, I may have been awful fool, but I’ve never been saner, and besides I can’t stand most of my family. I’ve never had the slightest intention of keeping quiet. ...more
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
Ha'penny has a very similar structure as the first book (Farthing), but is quite different in some ways. It alternates between a first person narration from a woman involved in the mystery and a third person view of the detective looking into the case (Carmichael, just as in the first book; in fact, the events in this book start just two weeks after the end of the first book).

On the other hand, this story really isn't a mystery; the reader and the characters pretty much know who did what from ve
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Jo Walton writes science fiction and fantasy novels and reads a lot and eats great food. It worries her slightly that this is so exactly what she always wanted to do when she grew up. She comes from Wales, but lives in Montreal.
More about Jo Walton...

Other Books in the Series

Small Change (3 books)
  • Farthing (Small Change, #1)
  • Half a Crown (Small Change, #3)
Among Others Farthing (Small Change, #1) My Real Children Tooth and Claw Half a Crown (Small Change, #3)

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